Unconventional Type Families

Unconventional Type Families
Marta Bernstein

Workshop at Letterform Archive
Type West Public Workshop
Sat, Feb 29, – Sun, Mar 1, 2020

How far can we stretch the concept of different styles within the same type family? What constitutes one? Contemporary examples are showing us that typefaces can be designed beyond the conventional weight (light/bold) or width (condensed/extended) axis.

In this two-days intensive workshop students will experiment designing with a “crazy” axis, learning (and breaking!) the boundaries of a type family. Though not completing the design of one (it sadly takes way more than a weekend), the students will set the foundations through sketching letters, by hand or digitally, and group critiques. Topics covered include sketching type, method, consistency and coherence, contrast. We will focus on the process and the design decisions necessary to build the structure of a type family. And we will sketch a lot.

The workshop is suitable also for beginners, as the knowledge of vector drawing and font editing software is not required (but welcomed).

Required Materials
  • Black markers of various type for sketching

  • Pencils of various type for sketching
  • Paper for sketching
  • Ruler
  • White out or white paint
  • A Mac laptop running Glyphs (or similar font editors)
Suggested Materials
  • Tracing paper
  • Digital laser prints of existing typefaces you like
  • Flat-tipped calligraphy markers
About Marta Bernstein

Marta Bernstein is a graphic and type designer originally from Milan, now based in Seattle. Type and typography are her true passions and the common threads of all her projects. She has a soft spot for 19th-century type, a topic she has been researching for more than ten years. She presented her ongoing research at international conferences like AtypI and Typographics NYC. She regularly gives workshops and lectures on type. Her teaching roles have included: adjunct professor in Typography at Milan’s Polytechnic, visiting professor in Architecture and Design at University of Navarra and lecturer for the Interior Design master at Tongji University, Shanghai. Marta collaborates with international companies, several start-ups and public institutions. She has a decade long experience in developing identities across various media, and designing wayfinding and signage systems. She is one of the founders of CAST digital type foundry. Marta completed her B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Graphic Design at Milan’s Polytechnic and her M.Des in type design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.